Von der Leyen Commission: Names and pronunciations

This is a list of the commissioners of the von der Leyen Commission, the European Commission in office from 1 December 2019. For each commissioner, the name is given in the original script and, if need be, in Latin transcription. The portfolio and the country of origin are given in English. Each name was transcribed using the symbols of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA): The first transcription indicates the pronunciation as it can be heard in the country of origin of the commissioner. Where applicable, German and English approximations of the original pronunciation are suggested.

I would not have been able to compile this list without the help of many others. Thanks to all of them! All remaining errors are mine, of course. Corrections, suggestions or suggestions of corrections are highly welcome. Some additional information on the transcriptions can be found below the list.

Ursula von der Leyen
President   |   🇩🇪 Germany
Original pronunciation: [ˌʊʁzula ˌfɔn ˌdeːɐ̯ ˈlaɪ̯ən] or [ˈfɔn ˌdeːɐ̯ ˌlaɪ̯ən]
English pronunciation: [ˌɜːʳsjələ ˌvɒn ˌdəʳ ˈlaɪ̯ən] or [ˈvɒn ˌdəʳ ˌlaɪ̯ən]

Frans Timmermans
Climate Action (Executive Vice President)   |   🇳🇱 The Netherlands
Original pronunciation: [ˌfɾɑns ˈtɪmɚmɑns]
English pronunciation: [ˌfɹæns ˈtɪməʳmənz]
German pronunciation: [ˌfʁans ˈtɪmɐmans]

Margrethe Vestager
Competition (Executive Vice President)   |   🇩🇰 Denmark
Original pronunciation: [mɑˌɡ̊ʁeːˀd̥ə ˈʋɛstæːˀɐ]
English pronunciation: [məʳˌɡɹeɪ̯tə ˈvɛsteɪ̯əʳ]
German pronunciation: [maɐ̯ˌɡʁeːtə ˈʋɛstɛːɐ]

Valdis Dombrovskis
Financial Services (Executive Vice President)   |   🇱🇻 Latvia
Original pronunciation: [ˌvaldɪz dɔmˈbrɔvskɪs]
English pronunciation: [ˌvældɪs dəmˈbɹɒfskɪs]
German pronunciation: [ˌʋaldɪs dɔmˈbʁɔfskɪs]

Josep Borrell
Foreign Policy (High Representative/Vice President)   |   🇪🇸 Spain
Original pronunciation: [ʒuˌzɛb buˈɾeʎ]
English pronunciation: [ʒʊˌzɛp bʊˈɹɛɫ] or [bʊˈɹeɪ̯]
German pronunciation: [ʒuˌzɛp buˈʁɛl] or [buˈʁɛɪ̯]

Maroš Šefčovič
Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight (Vice President)   |   🇸🇰 Slovakia
Original pronunciation: [ˌmarɔʃ ˈʃɛft͡ʃɔʋit͡ʃ]
English pronunciation: [ˌmɑːɹəʃ ˈʃɛft͜ʃəvɪt͜ʃ]
German pronunciation: [ˌmaːʁɔʃ ˈʃɛft͜ʃoʋɪt͜ʃ]

Věra Jourová
Values and Transparency (Vice President)   |   🇨🇿 Czech Republic
Original pronunciation: [ˌvjɛra ˈjou̯rovaː]
English pronunciation: [viˌɛɹə ˈjuːɹəvə] or [ˈjoʊ̯ɹəvə]
German pronunciation: [ˌʋjeːʁa ˈjɔʊ̯ʁoʋa]

Dubravka Šuica
Democracy and Demography (Vice President)   |   🇭🇷 Croatia
Original pronunciation: [ˌduːbravka ˈʂujt͜sa]
English pronunciation: [ˌduːbɹəfkə ˈʃwiːt͜sə]
German pronunciation: [ˌduːbʁafka ˈʃʊɪ̯t͜sa]

Margaritis Schinas (Μαργαρίτης Σχοινάς)
Protecting our European Way of Life (Vice President)   |   🇬🇷 Greece
Original pronunciation: [mɐɾɣɐˌɾitis sçiˈnɐs]
English pronunciation: [ˌmɑːʳɡəˌɹiːtɪs ˈʃiːnəs] or [ʃɪˈnæs]
German pronunciation: [maʁɡaˌʁiːtɪs sçiˈnas] or [ʃiˈnas]

Johannes Hahn
Budget and Administration   |   🇦🇹 Austria
Original pronunciation: [joˌhane̞s ˈhaːn]
English pronunciation: [joʊ̯ˌhænəs ˈhɑːn] or [d͡ʒoʊ̯ˌhænəs]

Phil Hogan
Trade   |   🇮🇪 Ireland
Original pronunciation: [ˌfɪɫ ˈhəʊ̯ɡən]
German pronunciation: [ˌfɪl ˈhɔʊ̯ɡn̩]

Mariya Gabriel (Мария Габриел)
Innovation and Youth    |   🇧🇬 Bulgaria
Original pronunciation: [mɐˌrijɐ ɡɐbriˈjɛɫ]
English pronunciation: [məˌɹiːə ˌɡæbɹiˈɛl]
German pronunciation: [maˌʁiːa ɡabʁiˈɛl]

Nicolas Schmit
Jobs   |   🇱🇺 Luxembourg
Original pronunciation: [ˌnikolaː ˈʃmit]
English pronunciation: [ˌnɪkələ ˈʃmɪt]
German pronunciation: [ˌniːkola ˈʃmɪt] or [ˈʃmiːt]

Paolo Gentiloni
Economy   |   🇮🇹 Italy
Original pronunciation: [ˌpaːolo d͡ʒentiˈloːni]
English pronunciation: [ˌpaʊ̯loʊ̯ d͡ʒɛntɪˈləʊ̯ni]
German pronunciation: [ˌpaʊ̯lo d͡ʒɛntiˈloːni]

Janusz Wojciechowski
Agriculture   |   🇵🇱 Poland
Original pronunciation: [ˌjanuʃ vɔjt͜ɕɛˈxɔfskʲi]
English pronunciation: [ˌjɑːnʊʃ ˌvɔɪ̯tʃəˈkɒfski]
German pronunciation: [ˌjanʊʃ ʋɔɪ̯t͜ʃɛˈxɔfski] oder [ˌjaːnʊʃ]

Elisa Ferreira
Cohesion and Reforms   |   🇵🇹 Portugal
Original pronunciation: [eˌlizɐ fɯˈʁɐjɾɐ]
English pronunciation: [iˌliːzə fəˈɹaɪ̯ɹə]
German pronunciation: [eˌliːza fəˈʁaɪ̯ʁa] or [feˈʁaɪ̯ʁa]

Olivér Várhelyi
Neighbourhood and Enlargement   |   🇭🇺 Hungary
Original pronunciation: [ˌoliveːr ˈvaːrhɛj]
English pronunciation: [ˌɒlɪvə ˈvɑːʳheɪ̯] or [ˈvɑːɹeɪ̯]
German pronunciation: [ˌɔliʋɐ ˈʋaːɐ̯hɛɪ̯]

Stella Kyriakidou (Στέλλα Κυριακίδου)
Health   |   🇨🇾 Cyprus
Original pronunciation: [ˌstɛlːɐ kiɾiɐˈkiːðu]
English pronunciation: [ˌstɛlə kɪɹɪ̯əˈkiːduː]
German pronunciation: [ˌstɛla kiʁiaˈkiːdu]

Didier Reynders
Justice   |   🇧🇪 Belgium
Original pronunciation: [diˌdje ʁɛnˈdɛʁs]
English pronunciation: [ˌdɪdieɪ̯ ˈɹeɪ̯ndəʳz]
German pronunciation: [diˌdjeː ʁɛnˈdɛʁs] or [ˈʁaɪ̯ndɐs]

Adina Vălean
Transport   |   🇷🇴 Romania
Original pronunciation: [aˌdina vəˈle̯an]
English pronunciation: [əˌdiːnə ˌvælɪˈæn]
German pronunciation: [aˌdiːna valeˈan]

Helena Dalli
Equality   |   🇲🇹 Malta
Original pronunciation: [ˌhɛlɛnɐ ˈdɐlːi]
English pronunciation: [ˌhɛlənə ˈdæli]
German pronunciation: [ˌhɛlena ˈdali]

Thierry Breton
Internal Market   |   🇫🇷 France
Original pronunciation: [tjɛˌʁi bʁəˈtɔ̃]
English pronunciation: [tiˌɛɹi ˈbɹɛtɒ̃] or [tiːəˈɹiː]
German pronunciation: [tjeˌʁi bʁəˈtɔ̃] or [bʁeˈtɔ̃]

Ylva Johansson
Home Affairs   |   🇸🇪 Sweden
Original pronunciation: [²ʏlːˌva ²juːhanˌsɔn]
English pronunciation: [ˌɪlvə ˈjuːhænsn̩] or [ˈjoʊ̯hænsn̩]
German pronunciation: [ˌʏlva ˈjuːhansɔn] or [ˈjoːhansɔn]

Janez Lenarčič
Crisis Management   |   🇸🇮 Slovenia
Original pronunciation: [ˌjaːnɛs ˈlɛːnaɾt͜ʃit͜ʃ]
English pronunciation: [ˌjɑːnəs ˈleɪ̯nəʳt͜ʃɪt͜ʃ]
German pronunciation: [ˌjaːnɛs ˈleːnaʁt͜ʃɪt͜ʃ] or [ˌjaːnəs]

Jutta Urpilainen
International Partnerships   |   🇫🇮 Finland
Original pronunciation: [ˌjuttɑ ˈurpilɑi̯nen]
English pronunciation: [ˌjʊtə ˈʊə̯ʳpɪˌlaɪ̯nən]
German pronunciation: [ˌjʊta ˈʊʁpilaɪ̯nən]

Kadri Simson
Energy   |   🇪🇪 Estonia
Original pronunciation: [ˌkɑdri ˈsʲimson]
English pronunciation: [ˌkɑːdɹi ˈsɪmsn̩] or [ˌkædɹi]
German pronunciation: [ˌkaːdʁi ˈsɪmsɔn]

Virginijus Sinkevičius
Environment and Oceans   |   🇱🇹 Lithuania
Original pronunciation: [ʋʲɪrˌɡʲɪɲɪjʊs sɪŋˈkæːvʲɪt͜ɕʊs]
English pronunciation: [vɜːʳˌɡɪniəs sɪŋˈkeɪ̯vɪt͜ʃəs] or [vɜːʳˌd͡ʒɪniəs]
German pronunciation: [ʋɪʁˌɡiːni̯ʊs sɪŋˈkɛːvɪt͜ʃʊs]

Transcription conventions

Each time someone pronounces one of the above names, the sound will be (subtly) different. The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is a useful convention for putting speech sounds into writing, but it remains difficult to capture all the details of even just one instance of someone saying something. Combining all the ways of saying one of these names in one single transcrip­tion is impossible – even if we only consider intelligible pronunciations produced by native speakers of the language in question.

All transcriptions given above are therefore abstractions that are supposed to give a rough idea of one accept­able way of saying the names. Pronunciations I refer to as ‘original’ pronunciations are based on how the names could be pronounced by speakers of a standard variety in the country of origin of the commis­sio­ner. I tried to transcribe a pronunciation that would not be considered unintelligible or wrong if it was used, say, on the evening news of that country. Let me emphasise that this is not meant to exclude the existence of other acceptable pronunciations. In multilingual countries, the ‘original’ pronunciation is based on the language that seems to be native language of the commissioner.

Many of these names contain sounds that are not part of the phoneme inventories of Eng­lish and German, two languages spoken widely in the European Union. For speakers of English and German with no command of the original language, some of these names will be difficult to pronounce. This is why I have added suggestions of how to approximate the original pronunciation of these names within the boundaries of the English or German sound system. The English approximations are based on the standard British pronunciation (also referred to as ‘Received Pronunciation’). Standard British English is non-rhotic (i.e., /r/ is not pronounced in post-vocalic environments), but I have added subscript [ʳ] in positions where speakers of rhotic varieties would pronounce that sound. The German approximations are based on the standard pronunciation of German in Germany (referred to as ‘Bundesdeutsches Standarddeutsch’ in German). Even more so than transcriptions of the original pronunciation of a name, Anglicised or Germanised versions thereof are subjective and legitimate subjects of debate.

If you notice anything that strikes you as incorrect or if you think that any widely used ways of pronouncing one of these names is missing, please let me know.

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